Textron Aviation has unveiled a new addition to the Cessna Citation 560XL series – the Cessna Citation Ascend. A mock-up of the midsize business aircraft is being showcased at EBACE 2023. Currently under development, the aircraft is expected to enter into service in 2025.
“Of the Citation family, there’s none more flown than the Citation 560XL series. With an 560XL aircraft taking off or landing every two minutes somewhere in the world, this aircraft will be part of the most successful business jet family,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “On behalf of our teams, we are proud to announce the latest innovation in the Citation family – the new Cessna Citation Ascend. We asked customers what they wanted in the next evolution of this iconic aircraft, and we believe the Citation Ascend will deliver.”
Citation Ascend customers will also enjoy many of the luxuries found in the Citation Latitude and Citation Longitude. This is made easier with a common Garmin cockpit, an important feature for customers who operate multiple Citations.
The Citation Ascend will offer Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545D engines designed to deliver better fuel efficiency, increased thrust and longer time-on-wing. The engines use new materials and technology — including a more efficient high-pressure compressor, an enhanced single stage high-pressure turbine module, and an upgraded exhaust mixer. The PW545D engines are also equipped with a Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC).
Preliminary performance targets indicate a four-passenger range of 1,900 nautical miles at high-speed cruise power (with an estimated maximum range of 2,100 nautical miles); cruise at 441 kts; and the ability to climb direct to 45,000ft.
Design improvements on the aircraft deliver the ability to carry a higher combination of payload and fuel load while retaining access to short runways.
“The Cessna Citation Ascend builds upon more than 20 years of the 560XL series success in the market,” said Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president, global sales and flight operations. “It’s designed to outperform and take our customers further in style.”
The Citation Ascend will include an unattended Honeywell RE100 [XL] Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) with self-management and added bleed leak detection. Textron Aviation said the unattended operation capability of the APU allows pilots to prepare for every flight efficiently, including heating and cooling the cabin with less fuel and less noise.
Textron Aviation worked with a Customer Advisory Board of owners, pilots, mechanics and passengers throughout the design process to better understand what they seek in the ultimate aircraft experience.
Customers can select from a range of standard and optional features to best meet their needs. The aircraft will include a flat floor to provide a new level of legroom and flexibility for passengers.
“The flat floor is a game changer when it comes to comfort,” said Christi Tannahill, senior vice president, customer experience. “The design gives passengers more room to swivel their seats, stretch their legs and comfortably move around the cabin.”
Textron Aviation designed the Citation Ascend seats based on customer feedback for ultimate comfort, to place passengers in an optimised seated posture. When designing their aircraft interior, customers can even select the level of cushion firmness. The aircraft has a standard seating configuration of nine passengers and will have a maximum seating capacity of 12 passengers.
The main cabin seats will feature an electrically controlled release for swivel and tracking on the seat pedestal. Optional seat quilting, footrests and electrically controlled lumbar support are intended to make relaxing easy while side-facing seats will feature fold-down seat backs to provide additional in-flight accessible storage space.
Customers will be able to wirelessly control the cabin lighting, temperature, window shades and onboard entertainment. They can also select an optional Bongiovi sound system.
The Citation Ascend will include all-new cabin windows that are nearly 15% larger and offer more natural light with translucent and opaque shade settings, wireless shade control, and optional lighted window rings to enhance the cabin’s illumination and mood.
To keep customers connected at all times, the Citation Ascend will include standard GoGo US Avance L3 Max wi-fi and optional US Avance L5 wi-fi. The aircraft also offers optional Aviator 300 for wi-fi and worldwide calling.
The Citation Ascend will have power at every seat. With 19 standard USB charging ports throughout the aircraft, all crew and passengers will enjoy access to at least one charging port, wireless phone charging and three standard universal outlets.
The aircraft will include an advanced acoustic treatment system for a peaceful flight, as found in the Citation Latitude. Textron Aviation said that with sound levels similar to that of driving a car down the highway, passengers can engage in conversations, work, or relax in an environment free of distractions.
“The Citation Ascend will offer all the best features of the 560XL series, and elevate the experience for both pilots and passengers,” Tannahill added. “We designed the aircraft based on customer feedback and there’s nothing else like it.”
Service and maintenance intervals
The aircraft also will include more standard equipment to support troubleshooting, such as an electronic engine chip detector; Pratt & Whitney’s FAST box for full flight data acquisition, storage and transmission; LinxUs and LinxUs Air for in-flight diagnostics transmission; and Textron Aviation’s Aircraft Recording System, tracking over 9,000 parameters during operations to support troubleshooting and trend monitoring.
Warranties on the engine, paint and interior include a five-year or 3,000-hour engine warranty; and two-year paint and interior warranties.
Finally, the aircraft will include design improvements based on two decades of feedback from customers in the field, like a new wingtip for cleaner lines and edges, all LED lighting and a pylon work light over the baggage area for easier loading at night. In addition, a new larger cockpit side window creates a modern ramp appeal.
Sustainable Aviation Fuel
The company stated its commitment to conscious manufacturing and noted it features sustainably sourced interior materials in the aircraft. Textron Aviation also utilises a recycling programme and industrial wastewater pre-treatment plants. According to the company’s energy supplier, Textron Aviation used 100% renewable wind electricity to power all of its Kansas-based facilities in 2022.
More than 1,000 560XLs have been delivered throughout the past 25 years, with fractional owners and charter operators consistently choosing the Cessna Citation 560XL series. The company plans to amend the 560XL type certification of the aircraft, so that pilots can transition to the Ascend through a simple approved differences course – making training easier and more cost-effective for customers.
“Our talented team members at Textron Aviation have proven their ability to bring new industry-leading products to the market time and time again,” said O’Bannion. “We look forward to exceeding our customers’ expectations again with the new Cessna Citation Ascend.”
The company is already seeing strong aircraft demand and is taking orders for the Ascend. EBACE attendees can preview the Citation Ascend interior mock-up at Textron Aviation booth T-26 during the show.